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What are Bandage Scissors?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Bandage scissors are often found in first aid kits and in a variety of medical facilities. They are usually made of metal, typically stainless steel, and they often have serrated blades and an angled tip that is blunt at the edges. These scissors have numerous uses that can make them valuable.

The three mains uses of bandage scissors are to trim bandages to custom size, to cut through clothing or gauze, and to help remove bandages that someone is wearing. For this last purpose, the angled blades are extremely important, since they angle away from anything beneath the cutting surface. They help keep the scissors away from the skin so that injury doesn’t occur. The blunt tips also help, since there is less likelihood of piercing the skin, as might occur if sharp tipped scissors were used instead.

Numerous first aid needs may require people to cut rolls of gauze. Gauze can be a little challenging to cut and the serrated blade of bandage scissors is helpful. It grabs the fabric and keeps the scissors in place for more even cutting without any slipping.

Though bandages come in a variety of sizes, and first aid kits may have several sizes available, they still may not be appropriate for the size of an injury or an injury located in a difficult place to bandage. It’s often necessary to trim band-aids or bandages to fit in odd locations, and people with sensitive skin may have a tough time with adhesive bandages. Trimming extra adhesive that is unnecessary to keep a bandage in place can be a good use for bandage scissors.

People may wonder if it’s really necessary to have bandage scissors when they have other scissors available, like manicuring scissors. Certainly, in a pinch, sterilized manicuring scissors can be used in place of medical scissors, but they won’t work as well since they lack serration. Moreover, many manicuring scissors do have pointed tips and great care must be taken if they’re use to remove bandages. Since bandage scissors truly are designed for medical purposes, it really is worth owing a pair, and keeping them in a nearby first aid kit. It’s better to have a few pairs: one for the home, one for any emergency kit, and one for a first aid kit in a car.

These scissors are usually not very expensive, and a set may be included in a purchased first aid kit. Some care does need to be taken once the scissors have been used. When either removing bandages or trimming bandages or gauze, the scissors should be cleaned first (when possible) to avoid infection. Dousing them in rubbing alcohol helps provide quick cleaning, though they are considered clean but not sterile when this method is used. If alcohol is unavailable, most waterless handwash types contain a high amount of alcohol and can help clean off the scissors prior to use. Consider keeping some waterless handwash or some sealed medical cleaning wipes on hand for emergency use to clean medical equipment or to clean cuts.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By SteamLouis — On May 19, 2014

@SarahGen-- Yes, bandage scissors tend to be tiny but I think they can be very useful. Since they are small, you can carry them pretty much anywhere. They fit easily into first aid kits and can be carried while traveling. I know that they are used all the time at hospital settings because they can cut different types of materials. So medical professionals keep bandage scissors on hand when they are short on time.

By SarahGen — On May 18, 2014

@bear78-- I can't cut gauze with bandage scissors. Bandage scissors are tiny so when trying to cut gauze, they get stuck. Bandage scissors are good for cutting bandage and medical tape and that's about it. I would buy a full-sized medical scissors for cutting gauze and other first aid materials.

By bear78 — On May 18, 2014

I had been using cosmetic scissors to cut through bandages. I have a surgical wound that requires new dressing every day. The cosmetic scissors was getting the job done but I had to cut extremely slowly because I did not want to hurt myself. A few times, the tip of the scissors did scratch my skin. My husband noticed this and came home with a pair of bandage scissors for me yesterday. I changed my dressing this morning and I'm so impressed with the bandage scissors. Not only did it cut through gauze and tape much more easily but the angled and blunt tip slid on my skin without any irritation.

For those wondering bandage scissors is really necessary, I think it is. Especially those who need to use dressing or bandages on a regular basis should not hesitate to get this type of scissors.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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